I have kids.
This is often problematic. Kids are noisy, needy, crazy little buggers.
Kids get the best Christmas gifts. This makes a lot of that other stuff a little more bearable.
This year in my house Santa, as well as several aunts and uncles, bestowed a bunch of games upon my children, and therefore me as well! Let’s take a stroll through the carnage…
Scribblenauts Unmasked: (Wii U) If you’re unfamiliar with the scribblenauts series here’s a quick overview. You play Max a boy who moves from place to place solving problems. Each problem must be solved by creating the necessary item that is needed. The twist? You create these items by typing in his notebook. So you need to get up a cliff? Open the notebook and type ladder, or wings, or giant pogo-stick, whatever you think will get you there. Some solutions will work, many won’t. There have been many versions for many platforms, the new in Unmasked? The entire catalog of DC characters are at you fingertips. And the locations! The Daily Planet, Star Labs, and just wait till you see the Batcave it’s really a trip.
4 out of 5 stars
Disney Infinity: (Wii U) (rated E 10+) I’m just going to come right out and say it. I was totally disappointed with this game. For all the hype, all the amazing reviews this is just isn’t all that great. In case you’re not up to speed on the game it goes something like this. You by an $80 game that consists of a usb platform the “infinity base”, three characters and a world cube. You put the world cube on the platform and depending on which character(s) you choose you play a different game. There are (at the time of this article) 6 play sets. Monsters U, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Incredibles are included in the starter set with the corresponding figures (Sully, Captain Jack Sparrow, Mr Incredible). As well as those three games there’s also a game (?) called the “Toy Box”. It’s a sandbox, design mode where pretty much anything is possible.
This all sounds wonderful and in theory it is. Then when your 7 year old and your 3 year old are playing with Sully and Captain Jack and try to load Monsters U they find out pretty quickly that that just doesn’t fly in Infinity. Only characters who belong to the game world can play in that world. Yes any two characters can play in the toy box together, but the toy box is a little too open ended, there really isn’t that much to do until you design it. And I know the game is rated 10+ but let’s be honest so is every other game in this article.
So, if you have more than one gamer in the house, and they’d actually like to play a game together well you need to go buy some more characters.
Now I know I sound a little harsh but come on. Watch the commercials, go to any toy store, look at the displays. I figured out what was what before we played it but try explaining the whys of this to a child. Hell my kids favorite characters, that they just have to have, don’t even have a game environment.
For fairly average game play dressed up in a package that just doesn’t deliver what it implies I have to give this one a 2 out of 5 stars
Batman: The Brave and The Bold: (Wii) (rated E 10+) This is an older game you can pick it up for just a couple of bucks on amazon but it is worth every penny. It’s based on the cartoon of the same name, it follows Batman as he goes on team-up after team-up. Heroes like Blue Beetle, Robin, Hawkman, and Guy Gardner fight side by side with the Dark Knight, then you throw in the special characters like Aquaman, Black Lightening, Black Canary, Plastic Man who show up to lend the occasional hand. This game vacillates between easy and challenging. I found it to be a whole lot of fun. The soundtrack alone is worth picking up, Andy Sturmer’s jazz theme to the series is still stuck in my head.
4 out of 5 stars
Last but not least…
Lego Marvel Superheroes: (Wii U) (rated E 10+) Take Grand Theft Auto and add more than 100 of your favorite Super Heroes and Super Villains from the Marvel Universe. Run through the streets of Manhattan as the Hulk, or Spider-man, or Iron Man, or Black Widow. No, I’m not kidding. The sandbox aspect is wild, there are pick-up missions all over the city, and the city is a character all its own. The missions aren’t impossible but they are challenging. It’s also fun to play a game without blood and gore. In that fine Lego tradition you don’t die, just burst into pieces and pop back into play moment later. That’s a real selling feature when you have a 3 year old. And let’s face it, any game that lets me jump off of a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, free fall through rings of legos and pop my chute and drift down to the city streets is the very best game ever.